Current strategies for skeletal regeneration often require co-delivery of scaffold technologies, growth factors, and cellular material. However, isolation and expansion of stem cells can be time consuming, costly, and requires an additional procedure for harvest. Further, the introduction of supraphysiologic doses of growth factors may result in untoward clinical side effects, warranting pursuit of alternative methods for stimulating osteogenesis. In this work, we describe a nanoparticulate mineralized collagen glycosaminoglycan scaffold that induces healing of critical-sized rabbit cranial defects without addition of expanded stem cells or exogenous growth factors. We demonstrate that the mechanism of osteogenic induction corresponds to an increase in canonical BMP receptor signalling secondary to autogenous production of BMP-2 and -9 early and BMP-4 later during differentiation. Thus, nanoparticulate mineralized collagen glycosaminoglycan scaffolds may provide a novel growth factor-free and ex vivo progenitor cell culture-free implantable method for bone regeneration.
Biomaterials. 2016 May;89:67-78. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.02.020. Epub 2016 Feb 18.